Ex-Google employee calls out culture of sexual misbehavior that started ‘at the top’

Ex-Google employee calls out culture of sexual misbehavior that started ‘at the top’

A former Google employee accused the tech giant’s executive ranks of fostering a culture of sexual misbehavior in a scathing blog post detailing her relationship with the company’s top lawyer.

In a Medium post published Wednesday, Jennifer Blakely accused Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond — in whose department she once worked — of chronic philandering and abandoning her and the son they had together, describing Drummond’s behavior as “nothing short of abuse.”

“I lived through it first hand and I believe a company’s culture, its behavioral patterns, start at the top.”

Jennifer Blakely

Blakely said she and Drummond started an affair — contrary to HR rules — in 2004, when he was estranged from his wife, and they had a child together in 2007. She said she then had to transfer out of his department to sales, although she had no sales experience, and became depressed with her work. Blakely said she and her son were living with Drummond and he had offered to support her financially, so she finally quit her job at Google. But soon after, in 2008, he abandoned them after a Google dinner party. A bitter custody battle ensued, with Drummond described as a bully and an absentee father.

“’Hell’ does not begin to capture my life since that day,” she wrote. “I’ve spent the last 11 years taking on one of the most powerful, ruthless lawyers in the world. . . . David did things exclusively on his terms. Having no job, no recourse, I didn’t have a leg to stand on.”

Blakely had originally spoken about the affair with the New York Times last year, in a bombshell story about Android chief Andy Rubin, who received a massive exit package from Google after being accused of sexual misconduct. That led to walkouts by Google workers and a lawsuit from shareholders claiming Google tried to cover up the misconduct.

In her blog post, Blakely said Google’s leadership was at fault for turning a blind eye to sexual harassment and misconduct for years.

“Looking back, I see how standards that I was willing to indulge early on became institutionalized behavior as Google’s world prominence grew and its executives grew more powerful,” she wrote. “Women that I worked with at Google who have spoken to me since the New York Times article have told me how offended they were by the blatant womanizing and philandering that became common practice among some (but certainly not all) executives, starting at the very top.

“For me, the abuse of power didn’t stop with being pushed out. Afterwards I was pushed down, lest I got in the way of the behavior that had become even more oppressive and entitled. Until truth is willing to speak to power and is heard, there’s not going to be the sea change necessary to bring equality to the workplace.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last fall, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent staff an email apologizing for past inaction, and said he was “fully committed” to changing its corporate culture and taking a harder line against sexual misconduct. In April, Google updated the way it responds to sexual misconduct claims.

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